Cab­i­net set to sign off on ₹22,000-cr Nu­ma­li­garh Re­fin­ery ex­pan­sion

NDA govt con­tin­ues its fo­cus on wooing North-East vot­ers

The Hindu Business Line - - NEWS - P MANOJ

State-run oil re­finer Bharat Pe­tro­leum Cor­po­ra­tion Ltd (BPCL) is close to get­ting cab­i­net back­ing to ex­pand the ca­pac­ity of its re­fin­ery lo­cated at Nu­ma­li­garh in As­sam’s Go­laghat dis­trict by 6 mil­lion tonnes with an in­vest­ment of ₹22,000 crore. The Naren­dra Modiled gov­ern­ment is ex­pected to sign off on the ex­pan­sion plan that in­cludes a vi­a­bil­ity gap fund­ing (VGF) and tax con­ces­sions from the Cen­tre as the rul­ing party pushes ahead with its aim to woo vot­ers in the North-East with mega projects in the run-up to the gen­eral elec­tions.

North-East States send 25 law­mak­ers to Lok Sabha.

Nu­ma­li­garh Re­fin­ery Ltd, 61.65 per cent owned by Ma­haratna PSU BPCL, cur­rently re­fines 3 mt of crude a year. The re­fin­ery was set up in 1999 fol­low­ing the As­sam Ac­cord.

Push from govt

Oil In­dia Ltd holds a 26 per cent stake in the re­fin­ery with the As­sam gov­ern­ment hold­ing the bal­ance eq­uity. The joint ven­ture part­ners are treat­ing the ex­pan­sion as a sep­a­rate project hav­ing a dif­fer­ent con­fig­u­ra­tion from the ex­ist­ing re­fin­ery, a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said. “The pro­posal has se­cured full sup­port of the Pe­tro­leum and Fi­nance min­istries. So, the cab­i­net ap­proval is a mere for­mal­ity. Since it is a project in the North-East, there will be a lot of push from the gov­ern­ment,” the gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said. BPCL con­firmed the plan.

Oil re­fin­ers are fac­ing dif­fi­cul­ties in sup­port­ing de­mand in the North-East where the growth has out­stripped other re­gions. “Be­cause, the growth is so fast in the North-East, we were try­ing to ex­pand ca­pac­ity to ease the mar­ket,” A file photo of Nu­ma­li­garh Re­fin­ery in As­sam. Oil re­fin­ers are fac­ing dif­fi­cul­ties in sup­port­ing de­mand in the North-East

the of­fi­cial said. The re­fin­ery will also sup­ply prod­ucts to Bangladesh.

LPG pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity

Ma­haratna PSU In­dian Oil Cor­po­ra­tion Ltd (IOCL), mean­while, will raise the ca­pac­ity of the LPG bot­tling plant at its Bon­gaigaon Re­fin­ery, also in As­sam, chair­man San­jiv Singh said on Satur­day. The

en­hanced LPG pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity at the re­fin­ery will be com­mis­sioned this year, he said, addingthis will in­crease the LPG pro­duc­tion in the North-East five times.

LPG pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity is be­ing raised as part of mod­i­fi­ca­tion work that will hike the re­fin­ery’s ca­pac­ity marginally to 2.75 mt from 2.35 mt. “The next ex­pan­sion of Bon­gaigaon re­fin­ery to 4.5 mt is linked to the new crude pipe­line Nu­ma­li­garh re­fin­ery will lay for its ex­pan­sion, be­cause there is no crude in that re­gion to sup­port the ex­pan­sion. When Nu­ma­li­garh lays the new pipe­line from Paradip to its re­fin­ery for its ex­pan­sion, all these re­finer­ies will get con­nected,” San­jiv Singh said.

The ship­ping min­istry, mean­while, has sub­mit­ted a pro­posal to the fi­nance min­istry for aug­men­ta­tion of nav­i­ga­tion ca­pac­ity of na­tional wa­ter­way 2 (NW-2 on river Brahma­pu­tra) in As­sam with tech­ni­cal and fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance from the World Bank, on the lines of the Jal Marg Vikas project on NW-1.

A scop­ing mis­sion of the World Bank vis­ited NW-2 and NW-16 (also in As­sam) dur­ing De­cem­ber 10-14, 2018, ac­cord­ing to a min­istry doc­u­ment. Busi­nessLine re­ported this de­vel­op­ment on De­cem­ber 18, say­ing the World Bank was look­ing to lend more than $100 mil­lion to the In­land Wa­ter­ways Au­thor­ity of In­dia (IWAI) for de­vel­op­ing NW-2.

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